Our mental health crisis is highlighted when atrocities make the national news, but it seems that these events are quickly forgotten… until the next news-worthy tragedy. I have been a registered nurse for over 15 years and I have provided care for those with mental health and/or substance use disorders in various settings. I assure you, these illnesses do not discriminate. They have a major impact on people of every age and all walks of life every day.
For me, becoming a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is not a choice, but a calling that I feel the need to answer. My experience as an RN makes me overtly aware of the stigma and unique challenges that I will continue to face in this specialty. Typically, evidence-based medical treatments, especially those that are proven to be cost-effective, are fairly easily accepted by payer sources, and society in general. Historically, this has not been the case in regards to treating mental health and substance abuse disorders. Pushing though these barriers can be difficult, frustrating, and feel very isolating for families and healthcare providers.
Throughout my journey, I have received signs validating that this is the path that I am supposed to take and the Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation is a party of my story. Not only has the scholarship eased the financial burden, but I am inspired by their collaborative efforts to educate, reduce stigma, and remove the barriers to mental health care in our community. They operate with the understanding that good mental health is an integral part of overall health and wellness. I am proud to be affiliated with an organization that supports open collaborative discussion and efforts so that we can really revolutionize the way we approach care in Lancaster County.